The long afternoon sun is shining on grass as green as my memories of Ireland. Mrs. Peel (my cat) is asleep in a splash of light, a simple pleasure I have wanted for her since she first came into my life four years ago. And for me, too – I am always especially happy in rooms that are light-drenched, with windows that open. I have that here, though drenched is too extravagant a word. It’s one window shy of that.
But I have always had a housing problem in my head. I move a lot, sometimes down the road, sometimes across the country; even, as a child, out of the country. I used to think I would find The Place, the Home-Sweet-Home, the Where-I-Belong, and then live there the rest of my life. So, each time I moved, I hoped to stay, to unpack and not repack my books, to hang up and not take down my art. I’ve wanted a physical forever home, with a comfy chair, and my books and my teapot, and lilacs, and a life that would let me stay home. Isn’t that sweet?
That homely dream is not the life I have. It neither has been, nor is it likely to be. It’s my dream, but it’s someone else’s life, someone else’s cottage, something I read in a book, or saw in a film.
For the last three or four years I’ve lived in a series of places that I knew from the start would be temporary no matter what I did – a couple of house-sits, an artist’s residency at a school in another state, that kind of thing. All the while, I yearned for Home. I cried. I prayed. I prowled Craigslist.
By the time I found my current living space, something had shifted in me, and this Eastertide, I finally noticed it. I have wandered, but am not lost. I’ve had a home all along, a home that, as St. Augustine said, “does not fall down when we go away” (he also wrote, “My heart is restless till it rests in Thee,” and yes, that’s true for me).
I find I am now more at peace with “temporary” than I would ever have imagined possible. Maybe I’ll live here for a long time. Maybe I won’t. I care, but somehow I don’t care one way or the other.